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image SM drawer 62/1/2

Reference number

SM drawer 62/1/2

Purpose

Presentation design for an amphitheatre and round pond in the garden

Aspect

Plan

Scale

100 feet to just over 1 1/5 inches (30.5 mm) (drawn scale)

Signed and dated

c.1724-28

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink with grey wash over pencil; on laid paper, with two small C18-20 repairs on rear edges; 525 x 372

Hand

Charles Bridgeman

Watermark

IHS IVILLEDARY

Notes

The garden in the plan is 918 feet wide by 1430 feet long, measuring to the single-line border. The double-ruled outer border is a frame for presentation purposes and suggests that the plan was to be engraved.The design was partly executed before William Kent took over as garden designer at Claremont in 1729. An engraving by Rocque and Benazech of 1754 shows the amphitheatre with the same number of upper and lower terraces but without the polygonal banks at each side. A plain rectangular stretch of water replaces the circular pond (Willis, Charles Bridgeman, pl. 31). Stephen Switzer had knowledge of Bridgeman's original design for he incorporated this amphitheatre plan at the head of a stepped cascade and a large, cruciform canal in an idealised engraved plan published in An Introduction to a General System of Hydrostaticks and Hydraulicks (1729), pl. 37 (Willis, pl. 32a).The technique of graduated shading from dark to light for downward-sloping banks was used by Henry Wise and is a standard convention on garden plans in this period (see Wise's plans for Buckingham House and the Maestricht Garden at Windsor Castle; SM volume 111/42 and 45).

Literature

P. Willis, Charles Bridgeman and the English Landscape Garden, 2002, pp. 178 and 427, pl. 32b.

Level

Drawing

Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

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